*** New Video ***
MasterCraft CSX 265 SS:
A New Category of Boat
Introduced several years ago with much fanfare, somehow the MasterCraft CSX models -- which stands for “Cross Sport Xtreme” – have gotten lost in the last year or
so with the general turmoil caused by the Great Recession in the industry. MasterCraft emerged from the economic gloom late this summer as a survivor, re-capitalized and re-structured with the help of Wayzata Investment Partners of Minneapolis, and is now, according to CEO John Dorton, virtually debt-free. That puts MasterCraft in a strong position going forward.
The introduction of the CSX concept was a bold stroke in an industry not known for startling innovation. By taking the best elements from a number of different and popular categories of boats, MasterCraft created what is – to our mind – a completely new specie of boat. It is one designed for the new generation of young people – people who want to stay physically fit, are not bound by the pigeon-holing constraints of their parents in any one sport, and who want to enjoy it all. By keying on the three healthiest aspects of boating – fishing, wake boarding and scuba diving – the CSX could appeal to families that boat as a lifestyle rather than a hobby. Further, because the CSX 265 SS is so big and flexible, it has attributes for nearly all generations. If we had to come up with an image of the first boat that could be characterized as a floating SUV, then this would be that boat.
To illustrate what we mean, Capt. Steve takes us on a video tour --
Read Capt. John Wenz’s full captain’s report and boat test --
NEWS FLASH: MasterCraft is now conducting personalized tours of its SOTA factory in Vonore, Tenn, which is just a few miles south of Knoxville. If you have ever wondered how these top-tier boats are built, this winter could be an ideal time to take your family on a little trip they’ll never forget. To schedule a special tour --
Bass Boat News
Nitro Z-7 Brings Home
The Bacon for Peanuts
The message these days is that bass anglers want to go fishing without having to spend $50,000 on a fiberglass fishing boat. After all, haven’t you heard, we’re in the Great Recession, and it has hit bass fishermen as hard as anyone. They are telling us that they are willing to fish from a smaller boat with lower horsepower, but that they don’t want fewer important features. Get rid of the fru-fru. Top-end speed is no longer so important, but they still like the thrill of fast hole-shots.
That input is remarkably similar to the mission statement of the Nitro Z-7: drop the size and horses, but not the major features. This is a bass boat that seems right for the times. The 2009 model with a 150-hp OptiMax 2-stroke went for $23,995. Remaining models are offered at a published discounted price. The boat show season is right around the corner, so you’ll want to stay tuned for any other special offers during that time of year. The boat in our tests has a WOT of 56.4 mph, which is plenty fast for most people. If you are a bass angler in the market for a new boat then you need to ask yourself exactly how much extra pleasure and how many extra fish you will catch with a bass boat that costs much more.
To see our test numbers and our captain’s report on the Nitro Z-7, cast your line here.
YAMAHA SAYS NEW ENGINES
A "GAME CHANGER"
New 4-Stroke Engine “Faster Than 2-Stroke”
BASS ANGLERS TARGETED BY YAMAHA
8 New Engines Introduced Yesterday!
In 40 years of covering American recreational boating we can’t remember an announcement by an outboard engine maker that has the industry-changing possibilities of Yamaha’s disclosures yesterday in Chattanooga, TN. Not only is the company introducing 7 new engine models, the re-introduction of an old engine, but also a new line of props, among other things. Three of those new models – the 200, 225 and 250 -- are taking dead-aim at the lucrative and for Yamaha – the illusive – bass boat market. Yamaha claims that it has built a better 4-stroke mouse-trap than the EFI 2-stroke technology that bass boat anglers have stuck with for two decades. Behind these brash claims is some exciting new metallurgy (for the marine industry, at least) that has allowed Yamaha to create a new 4.2 L powerhead that has 27% greater displacement than their old 3.3 L powerhead – and also weighs less! That added displacement will help give Yamaha’s 4-stroke engines the low-end torque it has always needed to compete with 2-stroke engines. If Yamaha’s claims are true, where will this leave Evinrude and Mercury in the bass market?
To find out about this new Yamaha powerhead and to read all of the Yamaha claims -- hold your hat.
Regal 2100 RX:
Raising the Bar on Cool
The Regal 2100 RX is a ski and wakeboard dynamo that really got our captain's attention on test day. First of all, it totally blew away the myth of stepped hulls not handling turns well. This boat turned like she was on rails. But it did confirm that stepped hulls can really move... it topped out at over 52 MPH! Combine that with some cool graphics, an awesome sound system, and a 9.5 on the comfort scale, and this is a boat you have to see. Check out Capt. Steve’s performance and handling video of the Regal 2100 RX here.
Where were those girls on video test day?
*** New Video ***
New Cobalt 276 Video:
“Is it Worth the Money?”
It’s no secret that Cobalt builds expensive boats. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a person wants more than “just a boat”. Some people want luxury on the water and richness of the same quality as in their automobile or in their home. Hard as it is to believe, some people don’t look at the price first. For them, high quality is a given, and they are seeking something more. They are looking for refinement, serviceability, the best materials available and superb workmanship. When they find it, then they look at the price. Most veteran boaters will recognize that the Cobalt 276 is not a typical sport. But to answer that all-important
question about being “worth it,” we sent BoatTEST.com’s Christopher Hughes to take us on a video tour through the new Cobalt 276.
Join him, then you decide for yourself --
World Cat 290 CC:
Is She as Roomy as She Looks?
We continue to de-bunk the claims from mono-hull jingoists that cat boats simply don’t cut it. “They perform differently”, “they lean outboard in turns”... and, now it’s “they’re not as spacious as they look”. Ok, let’s see. The only way to show it is to do a video walkthrough and see it with a person onboard. And not a dwarf either, an average-sized Capt. Steve. Come along as he takes us through the World Cat 290 CC and checks out some of the features and the space onboard this twin-hulled fishing machine. Coming soon, we’ll take you on the water to settle the performance and handling myths once and for all. But for now, let’s climb aboard for a video look.
Bring all the gear you want, even what you don’t want --
2010 Chaparral 204 Xtreme:
Let the X Games Begin
Chaparral has pulled a rabbit out of their hat with a cool-looking trick machine,
the 204 Xtreme. She’s a stern drive sportboat with all the frills that a died-in-the-wool
wakeboarder needs to catch serious air and arrive back at the dock in style. Her
list of standard features is impressive, but there are a few options that we think
you should take a look at as well. MSRP $48,834. Read about the new Chaparral 204 Extreme --
Scout 245 Abaco:
Mini Express Fishboat
We caught sight of the Scout 245 Abaco on the docks one day and had to take a closer look. At first glance she seemed just like another walkaround, but stepping aboard showed that she is really a small express fishboat, or, make her an express cruiser, if you want. Furthermore, she has some innovations that we liked. The Scout 245 Abaco also proved to be a very comfortable boat, something that you can’t tell from the pictures. You have to see her with someone standing in the shot giving you an idea of the size and dimensions. So we decided to have Capt. Steve give us a brief video walkthrough of some of the features that make this little express about as much boat as many people need.
Bring the kids and watch the video --
New Boat Video
Capt. Steve Looks at the
Yamaha 212 SS for 2010
Powered by twin 1052 cc 4-stroke engines driving water pumps with 155 mm nozzles, the 21’ Yamaha 212 SS cooks. She gets on plane in 2.6 seconds and passes 30 mph in 4.2 seconds on her way to 53.0 mph. Once again Yamaha has taken a good thing and refined it a bit more, and made it just a little bit better than in past years. She and her big sisters now gobble up sportboat market share in their size category as more and more boaters become acclimated to jet-drive engines and are captivated by Yamaha’s signature two-level transom platform and pricing.
Our Capt. Steve takes a detailed video look at the model --
Toon Design Like a Sea Plane
Sylvan pontoon boats have a hull which the company calls RPT (Revolutionary Planing Technology). What is the RPT shape? Simply a deep-V design. While C. Raymond Hunt is usually given credit for inventing the deep-V hull in the late 1950s, in fact the design was first used in the pontoons for sea planes as far back as the 1920s. Full marks to Sylvan for being the first pontoon boat builder to adopt a concept that has been used for nearly a century successfully on sea plane pontoons, modify it, then patent it for pontoon boat use. We tested the Sylvan 8522 Sport and got some exciting speeds.
Sylvan calls their 8522 Sport “High-Performance” and watch this test to find out why --
Crownline 262 EX Deckboat
Ready for Extreme Sports
It seems that almost everything is becoming "extreme" these days so little wonder that Crownline has its own “EXtreme” model in the 262 deckboat. The Crownline 262 EX has comfortable seating for 10 people, a head in the port console, and five engine options from a single 250-hp MerCruiser with a Bravo III to one powered with a MerCruiser 496 MAG HO 425-hp engine with a Bravo III drive. The latter model is $28,000 more than the base boat with 250-hp engine. Either way you’re getting a lot of boat here, and a fast one, too, due the pad on the keel and the chine vents. Crownline says their intention is to produce Corvettes in an industry that specializes in station wagons.
Let’s see how well they are doing that --
Is A Prop Your Performance Problem?
Who among us hasn’t worried about performance? Even if you don’t need to run with the stallions anymore, it's nice to know your stead still has what it takes. If you are like us, every now and then you find yourself checking your speed and rpm and wondering if your vessel is still performing like it did a few seasons ago. Also, when buying a new or used boat you want to make sure that she performs well right from the get-go with the number of people and load you plan to carry. In either case, if you detect some performance dysfunction, you need to get to the bottom of it quickly. The prop experts at PowerTech! are doctors in the business of curing
performance dysfunction. Ironically, when you call them with your confidential problem
(we call it PD), rather than ask about your prop, they will usually ask other questions about your boat’s general health and condition.
Here are some factors they check first, before prescribing any costly
Royal Purple Has a Solution
Winter is upon us and the haul-outs have started. Should I leave my old motor and gear oil change until the spring? Lower unit gears need clean lubricant just like any other metal-to-metal surface in your power train.
And while boaters typically pay some attention to the motor oil they buy, few pay enough attention to their lower unit lube oil. For most people it’s just another necessary expense, and it is given little thought. But just as synthetic motor oil improves performance for engines, so, too, does synthetic gear oil. It makes lower units run quieter, cooler, smoother and have a longer life. The folks at Royal Purple tell us that their “Max-Gear” lube oil “provides unsurpassed protection to heavily loaded gears” because it is synthetic and has their proprietary additive “Synslide.”
Learn about Synslide --
Visit Royal Purple
Pro Buffer to Keep Gelcoat Shiny... Plus $47 BoatTEST Bonus Pack!
The folks at Shurhold tell us that their electric Dual Action Polisher can save you half the time and half the effort when maintaining your gelcoat. Further, they claim that the buffer’s oscillating head prevents burns and swirl marks. That alone is worth the price of admission as far as we’re concerned. Order now and use the BoatTEST.com special member coupon code of “BTT” and you will get a 16 oz. bottle of Pro Polish Wax (which you will need) and the buffer pad (also required) for FREE.
This way to order --
Last month the U.S. Coast Guard awarded a two-year grant to the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and Davis & Company (boat surveyors) to investigate capsizing and swamping occurrences in recreational boating. The last time the USCG investigated this category of accident in a special study was in the 1970s. In 2008 there were 856 reported accidents involved with capsizing, swamping or flooding, and 535 (62.5%) of these involved “cabin motorboats” or “open motorboats.” Greg Davis at Davis & Co will be leading the investigations. John Adey at the ABYC said that at the end
of the two-year study a report will be given to the USCG, and the ABYC will determine if new design standards are needed that could reasonably be expected to reduce the number of accidents of this type.
Bayliners to be
Built in Argentina
Last month Bayliner signed an agreement with marine Sur, Argentina’s largest builder
of sportboats, to begin building the Bayliner 175 and 185. Argentina has a 70% import
duty on boats which effectively keeps foreign product out of the growing Argentine
market. The small Bayliners are already built in Mexico so both production and consumer
manuals are already available in Spanish. Para obtener más información --
Divine Wind By Kamikaze Pete
Who said boating was for stodgy old men? PWCs have put fun into watersports the likes of which haven’t been seen since someone in Florida strapped two planks on his feet. If you like speed, thrills, chills and a chance to fall on your head and have a 400-lb. PWC come crashing down on you, then you’re just our kind of dude.
Hold on to your seat as Kamikaze Pete takes to the air and passes some divine wind --
Fish in 50% of U.S. Lakes
Have High Levels of Mercury
Last week the EPA released the results of a four-year study of 500 lakes in 47 lower states in which tissue samples were taken of predator fish and bottom dwellers. Levels of mercury deemed to be unsafe for human consumption were found in fish in 48.8% of the lakes tested. The burning of coal accounts for nearly half the mercury emissions in the air which ultimately end up in water and in fish tissue, the EPA says. What the study does not say is specifically which lakes are contaminated and which are not, and specifically which fish are over-loaded in mercury and which are not -- yet the EPA knows the answer at least in the 500 lakes it studied. Would you like to know the answers to these two questions? Please let us know at the end of this article.
To see the location of the lakes and for more information --
New Ice Center Console
Is Affordable and Cool
With over 70 builders, and counting, making center consoles boats these days, why shouldn’t the Myth Busting dynamic duo of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman make them as well? And they have – out of newspapers and ice! As a result, they are able to sell the new boat for just $999, plus engine, freight and dealer prep. You think this is all nutty? Well, Winston Churchill didn’t. During WW II he commissioned the British Admiralty to build a 2000’ aircraft carrier of ice – at half the cost of the real thing! The project was marked "Top Secret" and a prototype of
the iceberg carrier was actually made in Canada. Why didn't the Inuit think
of this?! To find out all about this exciting, new low-cost center console
See the video of the new Ice CC in action --
Calling Glastron, Smoker Craft
and Triton Owners... Comments, Please!
By harnessing the reach of the World Wide Web and the incredible number of visitors
to BoatTEST.com, we can literally focus the experience of the world’s boat owners
on each brand and boat model to help guide future buyers. Hundreds of readers have
already taken the time to pass along their experience on their boats to help new buyers. These “Owner Comments”
go unedited into our database. No matter what model
boat you own from the three brands above, let the boating world
learn from your experiences --
Confused about PFDs?
Capt. Cefus Explains
Many boaters are evidently confused about whether or not they are supposed to wear a life vest, and if so, what type PFD should they wear. Now that New York State has mandated actually wearing a proper PFD in all boats 21’ and smaller from now until May 1st, do you really know what you should be wearing? Capt. Cefus McRea who hosts the weekly cable TV program Nuts & Bolts Fishing has made a short video that will explain it all. Strap it on and move it out --
Visit Nuts & Bolts
Fishing website for program times.
‘Tis the Season
BoatTEST’s Boating Course Makes a Great Christmas Present
BoatTEST.com has joined with Capt. Steve to present you with an 8 CD-ROM boating
course that comes in a handsome plastic box. This course covers everything your
spouse, children, or friends need to know to be competent, safe boaters. It costs
only $69.95, plus shipping and handling. If that is over your budget, then why not
choose from one of five individual subject-area courses for only $19.95, plus shipping
and handling. Order here --
Winterizing EFI Stern Drive Engines
Several weeks ago we published a article by our favorite boatyard owner, Paul Esterle,
and received lots of mail complaining that Paul forgot to discuss winterizing EFI
stern drive engines. All we can say is that being a boatyard owner is never a victimless
crime. This week Paul gives us his take on winterizing EFI stern drive engines and most of it comes right
out of a MerCruiser service bulletin. Plunk your magic twanger --
Capt. Steve's Lesson #62
Tips on Boat Launching and Retrieval
This week Capt. Steve goes over nine new lessons and guidelines on the step-by-step process to launching and retrieving your boat. Learn some basic tips on maneuvering your vehicle with the trailer and how to back it up properly. Watch Capt. Steve as he launches his boat and walks you through the process and techniques; from where to position your vehicle, to how much power you should use to get the boat back on the trailer. Capt. Steve will even show you how to do this if you’re boating alone. And he makes it look easy. Just remember practice makes perfect. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com's USCG-approved
video boating course narrated by Capt. Steve. Watch Capt. Steve's video boating
lessons every week on BoatTEST.com. To view this week’s lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Wow, this is the highest I've gotten all week!" - C. Miller
"Do you think the out drive is covered under warranty?" - G. Dorpinghaus
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"Must be the Baja Peninsula..." - E. Cavoli
"'Map not drawn to scale... 'ya think?'"
- E. Cavoli
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